Luis Jiménez (sculptor)

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Luis A. Jiménez Jr.
Born(1940-07-30)July 30, 1940
DiedJune 13, 2006(2006-06-13) (aged 65)
Alma materUniversity of Texas
Known forfiberglass sculpture, prints
Spouse(s)Susan Jimenez

Luis Jimenez or Luis A. Jiménez, Jr. (July 30, 1940 – June 13, 2006) was an American sculptor of Mexican descent.[1] He was born in El Paso, Texas, and died in New Mexico. He studied art and architecture at the University of Texas in Austin and El Paso, earning a bachelor's degree in 1964. His post-graduate work was at Ciudad Universitaria, Mexico City, D.F. in 1966. He became an accomplished artist and taught art at the University of Arizona and later the University of Houston.


For over 30 years, Jimenez produced a consistent body of work informed by his highly developed craft skills, knowledge of art history and his own placement in time.[2] Jimenez was known for his large polychromed fiberglass sculptures usually of Southwestern and Hispanic themes. His works were often controversial and eminently recognizable because of their themes and the bright, colorful undulating surfaces that Jiménez employed. John Yau observes that one of the underlying reasons his public sculptures have been controversial is because he keeps bringing into view that which has been overlooked; he keeps reminding us that our history is made up of many points of view, many tales and tellings.[3] A reexamination of the context and purpose of public sculpture and the making (writing) and remaking (rewriting) of the untold tales and popular myths about the formation of the continually changing American West.[4] He was influenced by the murals of José Clemente Orozco and Diego Rivera. Jimenez is very much a contemporary artist whose roots are in pop art, as much as they are in both the modernism of the Mexican muralists and the regionalism of Benton and Grant Wood.[5] Heroic sculptures are Mr. Jimenez’ forte, but his art is for the people. Proud of his Chicano heritage and working-class background, he champions the common man.[6] Working in his father's shop, making neon signs, as well as lowrider car culture, featuring brightly painted fiberglass bodywork, were also artistic influences.[7] He unapologetically finds his images in stereotypes and magnifies those stereotypes into a kind of celebration.[8] As much as anything, what makes Jimenez’ sculpture alive, what makes it sculptural, it also gives life to Olmec heads, Aztec serpents, and the statues of Rodin, and the totems of David Smith: movement.

In 1993, he was a recipient of the New Mexico Governor's Awards for Excellence in the Arts.[9] In 1998 he received a Distinguished Alumni award from the University of Texas in recognition of his artwork.

His eldest daughter lives in New York, where she creates fashions designs.[10] Jiménez's daughter Elisa is a multimedia artist and fashion designer and was a contestant on Season 4 of Bravo's reality television series Project Runway.[11]



Jimenez was killed at age of 65 in his studio in Hondo, New Mexico on June 13, 2006, when a large section of his work Blue Mustang, intended for Denver International Airport, fell on him and severed an artery in his leg. The sculpture was based on the eight-foot-high sculpture Mesteño (Mustang), on display at the University of Oklahoma.[15]


See also[edit]


  1. ^,M1
  2. ^ Whitney, Kathleen (July–September 1997). "Luis Jimenez: Communities, Cultures and Controversies, Man On Fire". Sculpture Magazine.
  3. ^ Yau, John (1994). "Looking at America the Art of Luis Jimenez"/ Man on Fire. pp. 39–46. ISBN 0-8263-1551-8.
  4. ^ Yau, John (1994). "Looking at America the Art of Luis Jimenez" /Man on Fire. pp. 39–46. ISBN 0-8263-1551-8.
  5. ^ Yau, John (1994). "Looking at America the Art of Luis Jimenez"/Man on Fire. pp. Page 41. ISBN 0-8263-1551-8.
  6. ^ Kutner, Janet (June 1, 1997). ""Art and Soul: Luis Jimenez"/Dallas Morning News".
  7. ^ Questions and Answers about Luis Jimenez' Southwestern Pieta - Hispanic Research Center, Arizona State University, 2001
  8. ^ Curtis, Gregory (May 1997). ""Study In Stereotypes",". Texas Monthly.
  9. ^ "The Award Winners". New Mexico Museum of Art. Archived from the original on 9 January 2014. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
  10. ^ Willard, David (Sep 1998). ""Sculptor Luis Jimenez Receives UT's Distinguished Alumni Award"/Department of Art and Art History".
  11. ^ "Project Runway Official Biography". Bravo. Archived from the original on 2008-12-17. Retrieved 15 November 2007.
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ Border Crossing. New Mexico Museum of Art Retrieved 13 January 2014. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^ Belcher, David A. (June 15, 2006). "Luis Jimenez, Sculptor, Dies in an Accident at 65". New York Times. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  • Landis, Moore, et al., "Man on Fire, Luis Jiménez, El Hombre en Llamas, The Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1994
  • Storey, Natalie, Artist Dies in Studio Accident, The Santa Fe New Mexican, June 14, 2006, page 1

External links[edit]